So Anatoly came back from Novaya Ladoga where he had picked up his step son Arseniy. With them they brought greens, radishes and pickled cucumber, salad to accompany the bottle of Siberia liquor Anatoly also brought. And then some dried fish.
We sat and talked until after midnight (=very very late for Stein and Erling).
Arseniy speaks good English and had the job as translator. We will just sample some subjects touched upon.
Anatoly is from Belarus and was justifiably proud of his grandfather and father who fought the nazis. His father stealing batteries for the partisans at an age of only 10 years.
Norwegian readers can probably relate to how WW2 looms large in Norwegian history. And rightfully so. But then we must try to understand the impact on Russia which was affected ten or maybe a hundred times more. The great Patriotic war is a massive watershed in the history of this country. On another note entirely, Arseniy told us his summer holiday plans were to ride his motorcycle (1000 ccu Honda) from his home in St Petersburg to Nordkapp and Lofoten. Maybe we can meet up again.
Arseniy was born in Dubno, like his mother, in the house next door to where we slept. How did Anatoly come to Dubno? He came to St Petersburg to study as a young man back in 1976. Eventually his fishing expeditions took him to Dubno, where he met Arseniy’s mother and built a house (datcha) next door.
Dubno is in many ways a far away place. 10 people live here year round, a lot more during summer. Dubno is 25 km from Novaya Ladoga, there is no cell phone coverage, no health service and no police. It is connected to Novaya Ladoga by a road that according to Anatoly can be navigated with a tank, possibly a tractor and if you are really good: A quad bike.
So the main line of communication is the canal during summer and unofficial ice roads over Ladoga in the winter. Again we were warned against Ladoga, it claims lives summer and winter alike. It was a privilege to enjoy Anatoly’s hospitality and sit and listen to Anatoly and Arseniy as night fell. A small glimpse into a very different world.
Eventually Anatoly called it a day, but first we went out together to bring the kayaks further from the water and into the garden. On a Friday night even Dubno wasn’t safe